High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Sexton High

Eye on POY: Michigan Boys Basketball

March, 11, 2012
3/11/12
4:22
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Matt Costello
Senior forward/center, Bay City Western (Auburn, MI)

2011-12 Team record: 18-6
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Class A regional semifinals

2011-12 Points per game: 25.1
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 17.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.9
2011-12 Blocks per game: 3.9
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.1

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Michigan State

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010-11 Gatorade Michigan Boys Basketball Player of the Year; 2012 Michigan Mr. Basketball finalist; 2010-2012 First Team All-League; 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan All-State selection; 2011 and 2012 League MVP

Denzel Valentine
Senior shooting guard, Sexton (Lansing, MI)

2011-12 Team record: 24-1
2011-12 Team standing: Will play in Class B quarterfinals on March 20

2011-12 Points per game: 15.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 12
2011-12 Assists per game: 9.2
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.8
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.4

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Michigan State

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2012 Michigan Mr. Basketball finalist; 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 and 2012 First Team All-League

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Chris Harrison-Docks: Senior point guard, Okemos (MI)
Connor Tava: Senior forward, De La Salle (Warren, MI)
Lloyd Neely: Senior forward, Crockett Tech (Detroit, MI)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.

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